It took three 9th Circuit judges 18 months to decide that the country’s biggest-ever employment class action can move forward.

Despite the delay, when the panel finally ruled Tuesday on whether 2 million or so female Wal-Mart employees can sue the retail behemoth as a class, the judges didn’t offer any surprises: As expected, the two left-leaning judges on the panel, Harry Pregerson and Michael Daly Hawkins, upheld a San Francisco federal judge’s 2004 certification of the class.